The cadres of college students and recent graduates who swooned and fainted for Barack Obama four years ago will long be remembered for one of the most ill-considered fliers in the annals of self-defeating enthusiasms. In the cold light of day, the youthful idealists, believers, and activists of 2008 look like the lamentable saps, patsies, and suckers of 2012.
Rarely has a politician owed so much to a constituency he has served so poorly. The president promised young voters the moon, and all they got was their old childhood bedroom back in their parents’ house. He fired them with an inspirational vision that didn’t include struggling to find a job to begin to pay off their onerous student loans. He sold a new kind of politics and gave them more debt and more entitlement spending that they will labor to fund all their working lives. He talked of hope and change — and gave it to them good and hard.
Obama’s inability to deliver a recovery worthy of the name has devastated recent college graduates. By one count, half of them are unemployed or underemployed. More of them are carrying debt from college — more than 60 percent — than have full-time employment. Studies show that graduating into such a weak economy has a long-lasting dampening effect on the earnings of young people. They bear the brunt of the economic failure of their champion.